Main site sections:
Plants section links:

Location

  • San Diego Zoo

Bloom time (approximate):

  • Spring thru summer

Plants: Species

Bauhinia (Orchid Tree): Cow's Hoof Tree Bauhinia forficata

FAMILY: FABACEAE (Bean Family)

While we think of orchid trees as beautiful ornamentals, in South America Bauhinia forficata trees have more practical uses and a practical name as well. They're called cow's hoof trees because their double-lobed leaves resemble a cow's hoof. Tea made from these leaves has long been used in herbal medicine there as a diuretic and as "vegetable insulin" to balance blood sugar levels for diabetics, and compresses of the leaves have been used for snake bite. One of the hardiest bauhinias, this beautiful Brazilian native blooms in spring and summer.